At the end of every marking period, my grade 2 team asks students to give themselves report card marks on a modified one-page sheet with descriptors similar to those on the report card that teachers are required to complete. The children score themselves on a scale of 1 – 5 in the same way that we teachers do on the report cards. As part of my doctoral work I am reading an article entitled, Rewriting narratives of self: reflections from an action research study by James Pauline, Educational Action Research, 7: 1, 85 – 103 in which the researcher recounts his back and forth use of quantitative and qualitative data, and how the qualitative data gave him more useful and interesting information than was available from the quantitative data. He especially remarks on the fact that the numbers and rankings gleaned from the quantitative data are beside the point to the information he gets from the conversations, written reflections, and comments of his research participants. While he initially surmised that the quantitative data would support and perhaps even reinforce the qualitative data he quickly discovered that, if anything was true, it was the opposite. In fact, my conclusion is that the quantitative data simply adds work but does not enlighten the process and conclusions of a research project.
Therefore, I am rethinking my use of what we call the “self-report card”. Instead of using this scoring system I will give the children a few statements to comment on as part of the next report card reflection period. Currently, there are over 15 items on the self-report card. I will need to sift through these items and pick out the most cogent ones, possibly rewriting them to elicit deeper levels of reflection by my students. I am excited by this plan. I realize that I was merely going through the motions of what my team had put in place years before and I have followed unquestioningly. It’s time to break the mold.